The man who continued to collect stamps even in jail

August 3rd, 2015

Many readers will have seen the film 'Foxcatcher' about the life of John du Pont, the rich and unhappy man who became obsessed with wrestling and eventually shot and killed his team trainer and spent the last 14 years of his life in jail. would like tell our readers about this extraordinary person who was obsessed with a hobby of stamp collecting. The 'Foxcatcher' continued to buy philatelic items and enrich his gorgeous stamp collection even while being imprisoned.

John du Pont had a number of obsessions. He was obsessed with birds, wrestling and stamps. At one time he owned the most expensive stamp in the world. Stamp collectors and auctioneers who knew John Du Pont describe a quiet and studious man, not the person he apparently became before the incident that cost him his liberty and another man his life. He was a renowned ornithologist and turned his scientific training not just to his philatelic studies but to a number of good causes during his lifetime.

Robert Odenweller is an internationally famous expert on stamps often advised du Pont on what to buy. He was at the RPSL because another of his rich friends – Israeli billionaire Joe Hackmey – was exhibiting part of his collection.  Odenweller described du Pont as a 'friend' and said that he used to visit him in prison. He said that du Pont wasn't allowed to have stamps in prison, but he was able to buy stamps and add to his collection. His purchases were made through lawyers. He couldn't see the stamps. He could only view reproductions of them.

John du Pont always had an interest in stamps and stamp collecting and formed several fine collections including those of Canada and its pre-dominion provinces such as New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, as well as Samoa, Falkland Islands and some Eastern European areas.

However, his greatest philatelic accomplishment was the building of a great collection of the old British Colony known as British Guiana; du Pont achieved no less than 5 Grand Prix Awards including a National, International and Grand Prix d'Honneur at various international philatelic exhibitions which ranked him third in the all-time list of multiple Grand Prix winners in 2000. What is more he owned the British Guiana that had been bought by du Pont for a then world record price of $935,000 in 1980.

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